Mi no wannam go tata

Trip Start Jan 23, 2006
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Sunday, March 5, 2006

Quick Update people!
I know its been ages since I last updated the log! With my neighbour leaving for the other islands I've not had the luxury of using her internet for free and I've been too cheap to spend my vatu at the internet place in town! But I'm borrowing Tim's computer today and spending some time writing up my experience at Banban school. Its been an experience for sure, some days I don't know what I am trying to achieve as the kids don't want to listen, learn or behave. And then sometimes they do listen and you can engage them in the lesson and you hope that just maybe you will get through to one or two of them - enough to encourage them to continue their education? Maybe.....

The diving has been very quiet recently - not enough tourists for us to share around! I've done some fab diving during my time here and even done a dive to 63.5 metres! Whoops - slightly below where I'm supposed to go but you can't come to the Coolidge and not do the Stern of the ship! Seriously long decompression on the way back though. Like 50 odd minutes between 12 and 3 metres. At least there is a corral garden to look at and noughts and crosses to play with the diveguides. Although, they play for ice-cream and if you lose it can get a bit expensive!

My friend Munni from the UK was with me for 2 weeks and in that time completed her Advanced course in diving which she really enjoyed and it really boosted her confidence. We pottered around Santo during her time here but really didn't get up to much. The weather was very rainy during her stay so often our plans were a bit of a wash out - literally!

I've been spending lots of time with the expat community here. There are lots of us "whitefellow" here, some are here permanently, some are volunteers with things like VSO or the Peace Corps and some are here for short periods like the group of med students from the UK. We hangout at the local Kava Bars, socialise and go on day trips today when we are not working. The pace of like here is pretty casual and slow so we tend to have lots of time to hangout and do very little! Its too hot to do anything at the moment - 30 degrees plus everyday with 95% humidity. Slightly different to my usual Saturday nights in good old Clapham I now spend Saturday's at someone's party where the objective tends to be playing drinking games and eating lots of food..... Last night we were at Calvin's place as he had just moved in so it was a good occasion as any to go and invade (you just invite yourself to things here and its all cool). We had a BBQ (well until it rained) and it was good fun. I was slightly worried about the food as they cooked on an old rusty grill which looked like it had better years but I was in the company of many med students (or babydocs as we call them) so if I got sick I was in the right place!

I went to Champagne Beach yesterday which was stunning - we had to travel on the back of a truck to get there and it was 2 hrs each way over potholed roads in the blazing sun. I got rather sunburned arms from holding onto the edges in a deathlike grip. Great experience expect for the constant thoughts of falling out! Sorry mum - promise you I won't do it again! On the way back we went to one of the blueholes which are fresh water streams that in places run to 20m deep and are ice-cold. You scramble over slippery sides and then hurtle yourself off a log into the water. When I say hurtle - most of us whitefellow edge cautiously over the log and then scream like a bunch of girls as we topple in! I've added some pictures of the Ni-Vanuatu (term for locals) hurtling with great skill and totally fearless!

I only have a week and a half left here and then off to Oz for a month. I will be very sorry to go as I've made some great friends of the expats and the Ni-Vanu. The pace of life here, although slow, is very peaceful and its been a good chill out for me. I've written up my experiences of Banban school and posted these on the site too for anyone who wants to have a read and look at the pictures. I'm not sure if I'll get chance to update again before I leave but I'll try. Once I'm back in Oz my phone will work and I will start responding to messages again! Keep them coming though as it's good to head from you.

Hope all are well and happy.

With love,

Sam
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